Adrian Morley will return to the UK after being ruled out of the Four Nations Series with an arm injury.
The England captain sustained an injury to his right arm in the 18-18 tour opener against New Zealand Maori on Saturday which has been diagnosed as a ruptured bicep.
"I'm absolutely gutted and am still coming to terms with it," said the Warrington prop, who replaced Jamie Peacock as skipper after he was ruled out of the tournament with a knee injury.
Coach Steve McNamara admitted it was a blow to lose Morley so early in the tour.
"It's really tough on Moz and on England," he said. "Adrian is a fiercely proud Englishman and I know how much captaining his country in the Four Nations meant to him.
"What's important now is that we do the right thing by Adrian and the right thing by England.
"As soon as we can get him home to have the operation he needs we will do so."
England do not have an official vice-captain but Wigan skipper Sean O'Loughlin took charge in Morley's absence on Saturday and he is likely to be among the candidates to take over the armband, along with Sam Burgess, James Graham and Gareth Ellis.
England, who play the Kiwis in their opening match in Wellington on Saturday, will decide in the next 24 hours whether to send for a replacement.
Under tournament rules, England are allowed to replace an injured player before the series starts and McNamara will look for potential candidates from members of his original train-on squad, who were told to continue to make themselves available after missing the cut.